Sidon, Lebanon

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Sidon, Lebanon

Region: Sidon, Lebanon is located in the province of South Lebanon


Geographic Coordinates: 33.560600, 35.375800
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 35.0°C (50°F to 95°F)
Climate: Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild winters.
Population: 200000
Language: Arabic

Sidon, Also known as Saida, Is a historic city located on the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. It is the third-largest city in the country and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Sidon was once a major Phoenician city-state and played an important role in trade and commerce during ancient times. Today, It is one of Lebanon’s most vibrant cities with a rich cultural heritage. One of the main attractions in Sidon is its historic old town, Which dates back to the 13th century.

The old town is home to many beautiful buildings and architectural landmarks such as Khan al-Franj (the Inn of the French) which was built in 1572 by Ottoman governor Fakhr-al-Din II. The inn served as a resting place for travelers along the Silk Road and today houses several artisanal shops selling traditional Lebanese crafts. Sidon’s sea castle or Qalaat al-Bahr is another must-see attraction for visitors to this coastal city. This impressive fortress sits on a small island just off the coast and dates back to medieval times when it was built by Crusaders.

Today, Visitors can explore its various chambers and towers while enjoying stunning views of both land and sea. The city also boasts several museums that showcase its rich history including The Soap Museum which offers insights into Lebanon’s soap-making tradition dating back more than 600 years ago. Another highlight of Sidon are its souks or markets where visitors can shop for everything from spices to textiles, Jewelry, Handicrafts, Fresh produce, Sweets and more.

These bustling markets are filled with colorful stalls selling goods from all over Lebanon making them an ideal place to experience local culture while picking up some unique souvenirs. For those interested in religious sites, Sidon has plenty to offer including Saint Louis Castle which was built during Crusader times but later converted into a mosque by Mamluk sultan Baybars I in the 13th century. The city is also home to several churches and mosques including the Great Mosque of Sidon which dates back to the early Islamic period.

no visit to Sidon would be complete without sampling some of its delicious cuisine. The city is known for its fresh seafood, Mezze platters, And traditional Lebanese dishes such as kibbeh (a type of meatball made with bulgur wheat) and tabbouleh (a salad made with parsley, Tomatoes, Onions and cracked wheat). Visitors can enjoy these local delicacies at one of Sidon’s many restaurants or cafes while taking in views of the Mediterranean Sea. Sidon is a fascinating destination that offers visitors a glimpse into Lebanon’s rich history and culture.

With its ancient ruins, Historic landmarks, Vibrant markets and delicious cuisine it is a must-visit for anyone traveling to this beautiful country.



Important Landmarks

  1. Sidon Sea Castle
  2. Khan al-Franj
  3. Temple of Eshmun
  4. Soap Museum
  5. Debbane Palace
  6. Saint Louis Castle
  7. Sidon Souks (markets)
  8. Al-Mansouri Great Mosque

Primary Industries

  1. Fishing is a significant industry in Sidon with several fishing boats operating in the area.
  2. The region around Sidon is fertile and produces a variety of crops including olives, citrus fruits, vegetables and grapes making agriculture an important part of the economy.
  3. Tourism is also a major contributor to the city’s economy due to its rich history and many historical sites that attract tourists from around the world.
  4. Several factories produce goods such as textiles, furniture and food products in the city making manufacturing an important industry as well.
  5. Retail is another significant sector with numerous shops selling a range of products from clothing to electronics to household items.
  6. Construction is also an important industry due to ongoing development projects in the city and surrounding areas.
  7. Education plays a crucial role with several schools and universities providing education to students from all over Lebanon.

Noteable History

  1. The Phoenician civilization: Sidon was one of the major cities of the ancient Phoenician civilization, which flourished in the Mediterranean region from around 1500 BCE to 300 BCE. The Phoenicians were known for their seafaring skills and their production of purple dye.
  2. Alexander the Great: In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great besieged and captured Sidon during his conquests in the Middle East.
  3. Crusaders: During the Crusades, Sidon was an important city for both Christian and Muslim forces. It was captured by Crusaders in 1110 CE but later retaken by Muslim forces.
  4. Mamluk Sultanate: In the late medieval period, Sidon became part of the Mamluk Sultanate, a powerful Islamic state that controlled much of Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517 CE.
  5. Fakhreddine II: Fakhreddine II was a Druze prince who ruled over parts of Lebanon in the early modern period (1572-1635). He is known for his efforts to unite different religious groups in Lebanon under his rule.
  6. Ibrahim Pasha: Ibrahim Pasha was an Ottoman general who briefly occupied Sidon during his campaign against rebellious Egyptian forces in Syria (1831-1841).
  7. Lebanese Civil War: During Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990), Sidon saw significant fighting between various factions vying for control over its strategic location on Lebanon’s coast.
  8. Rafik Hariri: Rafik Hariri was a Lebanese billionaire businessman who served as Prime Minister from 1992 until his assassination in Beirut in 2005. He had strong ties to Sidon and invested heavily in its development during his time as Prime Minister.
  9. Saint Louis: King Louis IX of France, also known as Saint Louis, was captured during the Seventh Crusade in 1250 and held prisoner in Sidon until his release was negotiated.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Sidon Sea Castle
  2. Khan al-Franj
  3. Soap Museum
  4. Debbane Palace Museum
  5. Temple of Eshmun
  6. Sidon Souks
  7. Saint Louis Castle
  8. Great Mosque of Sidon
  9. The Old City Walls and Gates
  10. The Lebanese Heritage Museum


Sports Teams

  1. Al Ahli Sidon – Founded in 1945, it is one of the oldest football clubs in Lebanon. They have won several domestic titles and competed in the Asian Football Confederation Cup.
  2. Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut – Although based in Beirut, this basketball club has a strong presence in Sidon and has won many Lebanese Basketball League championships.
  3. Sagesse Club – Another prominent basketball club with a large fan base in Sidon and across Lebanon.
  4. Ansar Club – A multi-sport club that fields teams for football, basketball, volleyball, handball, and other sports.

It’s worth noting that due to political instability and economic challenges faced by Lebanon over recent years there may be changes to these organizations’ status or operations since last reported information was released on them.



Cultural Events

  1. Sidon International Festival is an annual summer event that offers visitors a chance to enjoy music, dance, theater performances and food stalls.
  2. The Sidon Soap Museum Festival is a celebration of the city’s rich soap-making history with workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations.
  3. The Sidon Sea Castle Festival takes place every August and includes live music performances, traditional food stalls and various activities for children.
  4. The Mlita Cultural Festival showcases traditional Lebanese culture through dance performances, music concerts and art exhibitions in the nearby village of Mlita.
  5. Visitors can explore ancient ruins while enjoying live music performances and cultural events at the Al-Bass Archaeological Site Festival held just outside of Sidon city center.
  6. The Ziryab Music Festival honors renowned musician Ziryab who lived in Andalusia during the 9th century AD by celebrating Arabic classical music with concerts featuring famous musicians from across the region.
  7. Although technically not in Sidon, nearby Tyre city hosts an annual international music festival featuring a diverse range of genres including jazz, rock & roll as well as classical Arabic music performed by world-renowned artists from around the globe.

Cuisine

  1. Foul Akhdar is a popular breakfast dish made with fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
  2. Sayadieh is a seafood dish made with rice and fish cooked in a tomato-based sauce.
  3. Mloukhiyeh is a stew made with the leaves of the mallow plant and served over rice.
  4. Kibbeh is bulgur wheat stuffed with minced meat, onions, and spices.
  5. Al Soussi Restaurant is known for its fresh seafood dishes such as grilled fish and shrimp kebabs.
  6. Le Phenicien Restaurant offers traditional Lebanese cuisine such as hummus, tabbouleh, and shawarma wraps.
  7. Al Warda Restaurant specializes in grilled meats like lamb chops and beef kebabs.
  8. Dar El Amar Restaurant serves traditional Lebanese dishes like kibbeh nayyeh (raw minced meat) and fattoush salad.
  9. Ziryab Boutique Hotel & Restaurant offers a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine in an elegant setting overlooking the sea.
  10. Al Sultan Brahim Seafood Restaurant is famous for its fresh catch of the day seafood platters including lobster, crab claws, prawns, calamari rings among others served alongside mezze appetizers like baba ghanoush or stuffed grape leaves (warak enab).

Parks and Recreation

  1. The Sidon Sea Castle is a historic castle situated on the Mediterranean coast, providing breathtaking views of the sea and its surroundings.
  2. Debbane Palace is an exquisite palace that boasts beautiful gardens, fountains, and a museum exhibiting traditional Lebanese life.
  3. Khan al-Franj has been restored to its 17th-century glory as a caravanserai (an inn) and now houses shops that sell local crafts and souvenirs.
  4. Ain el-Helweh Park is a public park with playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking paths for visitors to enjoy.
  5. Sidon Soap Museum is an interactive museum that displays the history of soap-making in Lebanon.
  6. Al-Bass Archaeological Site dates back to the 4th century BC, showcasing ruins of an ancient Phoenician city.
  7. Fishing trips offer visitors an opportunity to go fishing or take a boat tour along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.
  8. There are several beaches in Sidon where visitors can swim, sunbathe or indulge in water sports such as jet skiing or paddleboarding.
  9. The surrounding mountains provide hiking opportunities for all levels of experience with trails leading to waterfalls and scenic overlooks.
  10. Throughout the year there are cultural events such as music festivals, art exhibitions and traditional dances celebrating Lebanese culture held at Sidon’s public spaces like its town square or seaside promenade (Corniche).

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